The House Committee on Transportation urged Thursday (July 30) the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and National Task Force (NTF) against Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to allow ride sharing or motorcycle taxis to operate, provided that the riders and drivers strictly follow heath protocols.
During its virtual motu proprio probe on land transportation policies concerning the back-riding and motorcycle taxi operations, the panel, chaired by Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento approved the motion made by Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious HIpolito Castelo seeking to provide a cheaper, faster and more convenient mode of transportation for workers, and for owners of motorcycle taxis to reclaim their means of livelihood
“I reiterate my previous motion urging the IATF, and NTF to allow ride sharing or motorcycle taxi provided that the riders or the drivers shall provide their own helmet at sila ay nakaprotective gear (they have protective gear) at nakamask (and wear mask), most especially meron po silang (they have) protective barrier na hindi makakacause sa aksidente sa ating pasahero (that would not cause accident to the passenger),” was Castelo’s motion, approved by the panel.
Castelo’s motion was seconded by Manila 5th District Rep. Cristal Bagatsing.
Castelo said by allowing the operation of the motorcycle taxis, the government will be able to augment its public transport system and respond to the transportation needs of the commuting public.
“I would like to briefly state na magkakaron tayo ng karagdagang sasakyan (we will have additional transportation). Hindi pa hindi naman nagooperate ang ating train (Our train is not operating) sapagkat (because) nagkakaroon ng (there has been) COVID virus spread lalo sa pasahero (especially among the passengers) at nahihirapan po ating commuter, ang ating kababayan (our commuters, our countrymen are suffering). Hindi naman po lahat nakakabili ng bisikleta (Not all can buy bicycles) at medyo mahal na ngayon (and it is now expensive). Not only for the livelihood of the drivers or riders, but as well as for the commuters at sa mga (and for our) frontliners, sana dinggin ng IATF at NTF ang ating kahilingan (we hope that IATF and NTF will listen to our appeal),” Castelo said.
In addition to Castelo’s request to the IATF and NTF, the Sarmiento panel also decided to adopt the motion made by Iloilo City lone District Rep. Julienne “Jam” Baronda calling on the Department of Transportation’s technical working group (TWG) to extend its pilot tests for motorcycle taxis, which lapsed on March 23.
“With respect to Congress’ oversight power, I move for the approval of the extension of the pilot testing of motorcycle taxi in Metro Manila and selective areas under the supervision of IATF and NTF,” Baronda said.
She said various experts should also be given the chance to provide “more comprehensive evaluation” of the motorcycle taxi transport system.
Sarmiento recalled that the operations of motorcycle taxis were stopped ahead of the expiration of the pilot tests following the government’s imposition of enhanced community quarantine all over Luzon on March 17.
The House panel also nodded to Bagatsing’s motion for its technical working group, headed by Navotas lone District Rep. John Reynald Tiangco “to spearhead the evaluation of study, along with other government agencies.”